Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
The ADL has been irrelevant for 50 years.
Its full organizational name, the Anti-Defamation League, like that of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is rarely used because that identity and mission lie in another era.
The ADL was founded in 1913 to promote the acceptance of Jews in mainstream society. Its founding charter was concerned with “the caricaturing and defaming of Jews on the stage, in moving pictures”. Its original plan was to fight anti-Semitic prejudice by lobbying theater managers and newspaper editors.
Jews won acceptance in mainstream society over 50 years ago. Hollywood has more Jewish caricatures than ever. The revival of Murphy Brown means that CBS now will have three sitcoms featuring grotesque caricatures that play every negative Jewish stereotype for laughs. But that’s okay.
The ADL long ceased fighting that battle. And all the others. It’s an irrelevant organization on its last legs.
Its original mission became irrelevant when Jews won mainstream acceptance. Jews are the best liked (or perhaps least disliked) religious group in America. Yet anti-Semitic hate crimes dominate the roster.
How can both be true?
As anti-Semitism declined nationally, it receded to the racial and political margins. Instead of a lukewarm prejudice of many, it became the passionate creed of political extremists. The ADL shifted to combating anti-Semitism on the margins instead of in the mainstream. Instead of critiquing movies, it monitored hate groups. But, unlike mainstream lobbying, its monitoring of the margins was ineffectual.
Neo-Nazis wouldn’t be dissuaded by the ADL. Neither would any other fringe group. The ADL’s monitoring only fed into their anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and gave them an enemy to fight. But the ADL also needed an enemy to fight, a reason to exist and an incentive to keep the donations coming.
Meanwhile it was ignoring the threat of a breakout from the margins becoming mainstream.
The far right had been growing less relevant for most of the ADL’s existence. The Klan had gone from marching in the tens of thousands and dominating entire cities to being unable to fill a small room. But the far left had been steadily growing in influence. And its takeover would change everything.
By the sixties, anti-Semitism in America was profoundly changing. But the ADL didn’t change.
Anti-Semitic violence was now largely a feature of urban life. The new Jewish middle class, many of them Holocaust survivors and accented immigrants who had worked tirelessly in sweatshops to put their kids through college, was driven out of its comfortable urban enclaves by racial violence.
Jewish neighborhoods and businesses built by the immigrant generation vanished in riots, firebombs, muggings and stabbings. The second act of the civil rights movement was an anti-civil rights movement that, had it been directed at blacks, would have been met with protests and outrage. Instead the left defended the perpetrators and condemned the victims. Black leadership jettisoned Martin Luther King’s calls for equality and co-existence, replacing them with nationalism and racial supremacism.
And the left cheered.
That’s how Al Sharpton went from leading anti-Semitic pogroms to addressing the DNC. It’s why Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus met with Farrakhan. It’s why Bernie Sanders backed Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson despite his anti-Semitism. It’s why anti-Semitic black literature is celebrated.
That is how Tamika Mallory ended up in the audience at a Farrakhan speech. And that’s how Eric Holder likely contrived to help Mallory boot the ADL from Starbucks for calling out her anti-Semitism. When two black men were kicked out of Starbucks, there was outrage. When a Jewish organization was kicked out of Starbucks at the behest of the fan of a black supremacist who admires Hitler, there were shrugs.
The left has been dismissing concerns about black nationalist anti-Semitism for 50 years.
Defenders and condemners of this phenomenon will blame the unique issue of race in America. But that doesn’t hold up. The left did the same exact thing with pogroms in Russia. Whether it was Russian peasants or urban thugs, the left defended the violence as the outcry of an oppressed class or race against the privileged Jewish bourgeoisie, even though the targets were inevitably the Jewish poor.
American Jews, whose ancestors largely arrived from Russia before the Communist violence, were under the impression that anti-Semitic violence was a feature of Czarist life being combatted by the left. This distorted view of what was really going on was encouraged by lefty propaganda rags like The Forward.
Both sides opportunistically encouraged anti-Semitic violence (while occasionally condemning it) when it served their political interests. One mob would shout, “Death to the Jews and the Commissars!” The other mob would shout, “Smash the Jews and the bourgeoisie!” And often, they were the same mob.
Few American Jews have ever heard of the Glukhov pogrom by the Red Army in which leftists massacred 450 Jews, including children, to shouts of, “We are going to slaughter all the bourgeoisie and the Yids.” The Communist Pravda described this anti-Semitic massacre as a victory over the “counter-revolution.”
Soviet anti-Semitism was not a break from its revolutionary principles, as some liberals liked to think. It was the execution of those principles. The Bolsheviks had repeatedly hounded their Menshevik rivals as the “yids” or “kikes”. As they consolidated power, they discouraged pogroms by individual bands and instead implemented a national Jewish pogrom of gulags, torture, execution and religious repression.
The attacks on Jewish neighborhoods and stores by black nationalists like Sharpton were a carbon copy of the pogroms that had been organized in Russia and Ukraine, by the same leftist ideology. A decade after the Glukhov pogrom, the Young Communist League and the Young Liberators were already working Harlem trying to stir up riots against Jewish storeowners.
The glamorization of Hitler in the black community did not begin with Farrakhan. Back in the thirties, Sufi Abdul Hamid, now known as a “pioneering labor leader”, but then dubbed the Black Hitler, was vowing, “an open bloody war against the Jews who are much worse than all other whites.”
Neither Tamika Mallory, nor Sharpton, are a break with a mythological past dominated by a black-Jewish civil rights alliance that the ADL and its base are obsessed with, instead they are the fulfillment of a the long, ugly alliance between the left and anti-Semitic black nationalists that grew on the ADL’s watch.
The left’s anti-Semitic tactics have been consistent across countries and cultures. When its regimes rise, they persecute the Jews, whether it’s in the USSR, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela or the United States.
But the ADL’s liberalism was its undoing. Like most American Jews, it viewed the rise of the left as a progressive phenomenon. It did not matter that the same mistake had been made countless times with the same outcome. There could be no harm in the Democrats leaning further and further to the left.
Except maybe to Israel.
The debate about lefty anti-Semitism centers largely on Israel. And that’s how the left wants it.
Unlike nationalist anti-Semitism, transnationalist anti-Semitism is cloaked in in abstractions. The Red Army pogromists were fighting the bourgeoisie. Sharpton was fighting racism. BDS is battling Zionism.
Leftist anti-Semitism identifies Jews with an ideological abstraction and then attacks the actual people.
The Red Army thugs, Sharpton’s thugs and BDS thugs are anti-Semitic. Capitalism, racism and Zionism are excuses. Lefty anti-Semitism neither began with Zionism nor will it end there. The Jews who were murdered by the Soviet Union, who fled Nicaragua and Brownsville, had nothing to do with Israel.
The ADL wants to be a lefty organization fighting anti-Semitism. Replacing Abe Foxman with Jonathan Greenblatt was meant to adapt it to the new landscape. But the left doesn’t want to fight anti-Semitism.
There is no future for an organization fighting anti-Semitism on the left.
The left has built its own Soros lobby coalition of anti-Jewish organization staffed by activists with Jewish last names. Like their counterparts in the Soviet Union, the Yevsektsiya or Jewish Section, they redefine anti-Semitism as a ‘bourgeois’ phenomenon that the left is immune to. These activist groups seek to destroy Israel and the Jewish community because they interfere with their task of mobilizing Jews as lefty activist cannon fodder. They defend lefty anti-Semitism and accuse the right of anti-Semitism.
Despite the ADL agreeing with 99% of their agenda, the left is determined to destroy or control it. And the ADL still refuses to confront the left because, like most liberals, it believes that it is on the left.
The leftward drift of the people who were once liberals had left them incapable of confronting lefty illiberalism. They know that they agree with the left’s causes, they only question some of its tactics. They talk a great deal about extremism, but they only whisper about the extremism on their own side.
And when the argument becomes about tactics, instead of worldview, the left wins.
The left’s tactical illiberalism isn’t impatience or passion; it’s the product of an illiberal worldview. Anti-Semitism isn’t an aberration on the left. It’s inevitable. A fundamental difference between liberalism and the illiberal left is that the latter defines solutions to social problems through destroying groups.
Destroy the bourgeoisie, smash the deniers, eliminate religion, crush whiteness and wipe out the Jews.
The left needs an “other” to personalize its abstract hatreds. Jews fill the traditional role of the “other” as scapegoat. And anti-Semitism serves the same function on the left as it did throughout history.
It’s no accident that the star of 1984’s Two Minutes Hate was Emmanuel Goldstein.
Multiculturalism doesn’t mean that there is no “other”. It means that there are a plethora of “others”. And when there are a thousand “others”, an “other” that everyone can agree on is urgently needed.
The left can make Jews embody capitalism, whiteness, nationalism, war crimes, exploitation and every evil. The Jews control the weather, a lefty councilman claims, and the left rushes to defend him. The Jews are killing Palestinian babies, stealing organs, training police to shoot black people and controlling the world’s wealth. It’s the same old bigotry in a keffiyah. And it serves the same tawdry function.
Anti-Semitism is the sewer, sausage factory and the boiler room of the leftist soul.
The ADL has tried to find common ground with the left. But the left is not in the common ground business. Where the left takes institutional power, in a country, a state, a college or a profession, ideological diversity quickly vanishes leaving behind its ruling activists and a silent majority.
As a liberal consensus vanishes, the ADL is becoming an organization with no base. The ADL is too pro-Jewish for the left and not pro-Jewish enough for the right. The left has its own collection of organizations that it wants to impose on the Jewish community. The Soros lobby’s JFREJ, Bend the Arc and If Not Now were hurled into action against the ADL. Eventually they will cannibalize the ADL.
The ADL failed to stand up the left. And like other liberal collaborators, it will be replaced with a leftist Yevsektsiya that will divide its time between condemning Israel and denouncing Jews as bigots who need to be reeducated about their privilege and their complicity in whiteness. And then it will get ugly.
When the ADL was founded, there was a mainstream consensus for it to influence. The consensus has been replaced by political and racial tribalism. The margins are becoming mainstream. And it’s dying.
The ADL may choose to shut down. Or like HIAS, it may jettison its Jewish identity and join the anti-Jewish left. Or it can do what it should have done all along. It tried colluding. It promoted Black Lives Matter and signaled softness on BDS. But its efforts to collude with intersectional anti-Semitism failed.
Now an irrelevant organization in its final years has one last chance to stand up to the left.
Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, co-director of the Chabad House in Rosario, Argentina. Photo: Facebook.
JNS.org – Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, director of Chabad-Lubavitch in Rosario, Argentina, was recovering at home after being assaulted by three youths on Sunday night during the holiday of Shavuot.
According to neighbors who came to the rabbi’s aid, the attackers shouted antisemitic insults at the rabbi, and began hitting him in the head and abdomen, reported Chabad.org.They then threw him to the floor, kicked him and trampled his hat before fleeing.
A Palestinian man inspects the site of an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, June 14, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.
Thousands of Palestinians rioted on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, hurling rocks, firebombs and explosive devices at IDF troops.
Also on Friday, numerous blazes were ignited in southern Israel by incendiary balloons sent over the border from Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Early Friday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck several Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to a rocket attack the previous night in which a religious school in Sderot was damaged.
On May 31, the cry went out from Times Square, New York City, to annihilate Israel and extend the terror war against the Jewish state to America.
As they did in Beirut, Berlin, London, Tehran, and Dearborn, Michigan, Israel-haters gathered at Times Square to call for Israel’s dissolution on the day the Iranian regime has determined to be “Al Quds Day,” that is, Jerusalem Day.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a video of the event. In it, a series of speakers called over and over again for Israel’s annihilation, voiced support for terrorists and terrorism and called for the war against Israel to come to New York.
Nate Chase from the World Workers’ Party led the crowd in chanting, “We don’t want not two state! We want ’48!”
Leftists have never been as humorless, unfunny and touchy as they are now. And they’ve never poured as much time and money into late night comedy, Netflix comedy specials and assorted people angrily shouting things about Trump and their confused sexual identities into a microphone, as they are now.
Comedy, as supported by billion-dollar media corporations based in blue states that would legalize killing babies and heroin before they would permit gun ownership, has returned to its roots in Greek political life. Except the ancient Greeks thought that people insulting each other’s politics was funny and the modern Proggies think that the insults should be one-sided and delivered in an echo chamber.
The UCLA Daily Bruin and its editorial staff have made a mockery of the concept of a free press, opening their pages to terrorist political organizations and closing them to the opponents of terrorist propaganda and Jew hatred. The Bruin’s allegiance to the destroy-Israel left and failure to observe the core principles of journalism in a democracy was glaringly obvious in its coverage of a recent student government ruling.
The resolution passed on Tuesday, May 21, by the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association asserted that—contrary to all evidence and a long history of spreading the genocidal lies of Hamas terrorists, and harassing Jewish students and their invited speakers— the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is not anti-Semitic.
May 28, 2019 0Mevo Modi’im (Photo By BFP Michio Nagata) Two organizations, one headed by Jews and the other headed by Christians, joined together to help the people of Mevo Modi’im. A wildfire in the Ben...
The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.
The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.
The New York Times claimed that President Donald Trump does not care about his re-election campaign or about the policies he would seek to enact during a second term.
“In a recent overarching state-of-the-race briefing in Florida with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, Mr. Trump was consistently distracted and wanted to discuss other things,
The New York Times got quite a scoop when, in an interview with its Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that he favored Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. That was the lede of Halbfinger’s article, as well as in the headline. And that was also the way the story was played in virtually every one of the many publications that picked up on the story.
Every movement has a mission statement. “Make America Great Again” is the conservative one. (It’s the “Again” part that makes it conservative.) The enemies of making America great have one too.
If the radicals had red hats, they would say, “They’re Out To Get You.”
TOTGY has been the leftist motto since before Marx learned to shave and then decided to stop doing it. The arc of history may bend toward many places, but the black rainbow serviced by a snarling leprechaun with a PhD and a cocaine problem always begins and ends in the same paranoid place.
In certain circumstances, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last week, Washington would recognize the annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
As expected, Friedman’s comments led to fierce criticism. The Palestinians already call him the “settler spokesman.”
But in fact, instead of blaming the settlers, the Palestinians can only blame themselves. And given that we are in the era of “narratives,” namely, lies that pretend to be history, we should pay attention to the facts.